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Barbara McGrath

08 Mar 2018

To celebrate International Women’s Day March 8th, we’re championing inspirational women who are leaders in their own fields. We may be slightly biased but we think our very own Barbara McGrath, MD of the Brightwater Group is pretty inspirational herself. So we asked her a few questions to see what she had to say about her own career to date.

Q – What is your current role?
A – MD of the Brightwater Group

Q – How did you get into your current role?
A – I joined the Brightwater Group in 2005 to set up a sister company within the group. Prior to that I spent over 15 years working in recruitment in various roles. Due to a lot of hard work, I progressed through the ranks and in July of 2017 was appointed MD.

Q – Do you have any qualifications?
A – I have a B.Comm and am MRec qualified. I am also a Fellow of the Sales Institute and was President of the National Recruitment Federation for 2 years.

Q – What do you love about your current role?     
A – I love the sheer variety of it. In recruitment, no two days are the same. I also love the way that we do help shape lives by shaping careers.

Q – What would be your favourite part of your current role ?
A – Working with like-minded people, we’re all very driven here at Brightwater but there’s definitely a team camaraderie.

Q – Proudest moment within your career to date?
A – There are quite a lot but winning best agency at the NRF awards in 2016 was definitely a highlight. Coming through the recession was also something to be proud of as we really put our heads down as a company and worked extremely hard to get back to where we are now – in profit, more than 90 staff across our 3 offices and with ambitious expansion plans.

Q – Greatest career achievement to date?
A – Being president of the NRF was wonderful, partly because I really felt that we worked extremely hard to bring recruitment into the spotlight of professional services. We’ve also lobbied the government on various employment issues and I feel very proud of that.

Q – What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
A – Always work hard and that communication is a two way street – as MD, I know that I’m going to get the best out of my team by listening to them and their concerns / ideas.

Q – If there was one thing you could tell your younger self, what would it be?
A – Be patient and always take on board advice of others, you may not agree with it but they’re only telling you because of their experience. Don’t be afraid to switch careers if you don’t like what you’re doing.

Q – What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed within the workplace? 
A – Again, the old adage of work hard. Never underestimate the value of networking and try and get involved in your professional organisations. Always be kind!

Q – What do you think are the challenges facing women in your sector today?
A – For me, gender diversity within recruitment has never been an issue. In Brightwater, the split is about 60/40 in women’s favour.  The very fact that recruitment is commission based means that everyone has the same chance to earn high levels of commission depending on their work ethic.   

Q – From your experience to date what have you learned about mentoring others?
A – 
Part of my role as a leader within an organisation is mentoring others and supporting their career progression plans. Clear communication is the key when planning progression milestones. Be very honest, manage expectations and remember to focus on the positive.

Barbara McGrath, MD of the Brightwater Group